Grow Just One Thing: book review, interview + giveaway

Grow Just One Thing book review - Ever-changing Life of a MumThere is nothing quite like the satisfaction of enjoying food grown in your own backyard. It’s an exciting, amazing process to watch the tiniest of seeds sprout into seedlings then continue to grow and eventually provide you and your family with something delicious and healthy to eat.

It is on this premise that Kyrstie Barcak has written her debut book Grow Just One Thing – The first step in a fresh food journey.

Kyrstie is founder of the blog A Fresh Legacy where she inspires families to grow their own kitchen garden and provides many helpful resources for setting up a veggie patch at home. She also shares many recipes for creating healthy family meals, including ingredients you may have grown in your own backyard.

The book is based on the idea that growing just one fruit, vegetable or herb in your backyard will spark an ongoing joy in producing and harvesting even more home grown food. The book not only shows you what herbs and vegetables to grow, how to grow them and when, but also goes further by explaining how to best use your home grown produce in the kitchen through meal planning and recipes.

**One lucky reader has the opportunity to win a copy of the book – keep reading for details!**

What I love most about this book is that it is written in such a straight-forward, easy going way … almost like having Kyrstie herself by my side offering her advice in the backyard. It also gave me a greater understanding of when particular fruit and vegetables are in season, not only so I can grow them myself one day but I now also know what to avoid when these are found year round in the supermarket!

Before reading Kyrstie’s book, I had grown parsley, basil and a few other herbs, and late last year I also set up a small vegetable patch in pots in the backyard with limited success.

Veggie garden - Ever-changing Life of a MumWhile we don’t have the space to grow a large amount of vegetables, if I can grow a few of the main vegetables we tend to enjoy a lot of during different seasons will not only help the family budget but also give us fresh, healthy food to enjoy for snacks and meals.

It is something I have been drawn to since starting my own journey of slowing down life for me and my family. I was keen to read the book to improve my small harvest of vegetables, plus it’s great to get the kids involved in planting the seeds and watching the vegetables grow and later harvest.

 Grow Just One Thing has given me the inspiration I need to revive my backyard vegetable patch. A couple of weekends ago, I totally renewed the soil in a few of the pots I have and planted them with snow peas, spinach, rocket, broccoli and lettuce – none of which I have ever tried to grow before. In a short time they have already started to sprout, so now I’m keeping my fingers crossed and the pots well watered!

For more information or to purchase a copy of Grow Just One Thing – The first step in a fresh food journey, visit A Fresh Legacy at – the book even comes with a packet of seeds to help get you started!

Kyrstie Barcak A Fresh Legacy

Kyrstie Barcak – photo supplied

After reading this book, I had the opportunity ask Krystie a few questions about her book and further advice on backyard vegetable gardening.

What motivated you to write your book?

I was motivated to write the book because although I write frequently on my website A Fresh Legacy, a book provides another medium to share my love of growing and cooking fresh food – and hopefully will motivate many more people to do the same. A blog post can only cover so much information and is not able to be structured in a way that allows you to share a complete story. A book can be picked up and put down, referenced as needed and shared with others. From a personal perspective, it is a piece of our family history, logged at the National Library forever!

My dream is for all Australian families to grow at least one fresh food item at home and experience the positive impacts on their family lifestyle and wellbeing. Growing fresh food has led to such an incredible journey for our family. What started as growing a few things in our backyard has changed our approach to sourcing, planning and preparing our food. I hope that some of the things we have discovered along the way can help others if they choose to see where the momentum of growing fresh food takes them.

What do you hope families will take away from reading your book?

I would love for families to literally take the seeds I have provided with the book and plant them! The seeds are lettuce and easy to grow all year round. They are quick to grow and have no special care requirements. They are the perfect thing to plant for someone wanting to get started in the garden.  I hope that my book shows people that growing fresh food at home is simple and fun, a family activity that can be enjoyed by everyone and can be done with a very small time commitment. I hope that this activity then encourages people to embark on their own fresh food journey to see where it leads.

 For those just starting out, which vegetables would you suggest people try to grow first?

Lettuce, peas, spring onion, rosemary, parsley, sage are all easy to grow for those who are new to gardening. Autumn is a great time to start lettuce, peas and spring onion.

What would be your main tips for a successful backyard vegetable garden no matter what the size?

My top tips for a garden of any size are:

  1. Choose to grow things that you know the family like to eat – things that you will want to add to your meals. Herbs are a great starting point.
  2. Start simply – plant one or two things and enjoy the results.
  3. Follow the guidelines for the plant – read the label of the plant or seed packet. Ensure you are planting it in the correct season and providing any specific care instructions, such as full sun. Remember to water it! It takes very little time to care for a few vegetables but they do require a few minutes care on an ongoing basis to keep the plants healthy and productive. This will result in you being able to collect the fresh ingredients for your family meals.
  4. Involve the whole family in the process from planting to growing, harvesting and cooking.


To celebrate the launch of Grow Just One Thing – The first step in a fresh food journey, one lucky reader has the chance to win their very own copy.

To enter, simply answer this question: Why would you like to set up your own vegetable garden and what would you grow first?


The winner is VANESSA – an email has been sent in order to claim your prize.


Terms and conditions

This competition is opens at 7am AEST on 19 April 2016 and closes at 7pm AEST on 27 April 2016.
This giveaway is based on a game of skill and the best response that answers the question will be selected as the winner.
Entry is via leaving a comment on the giveaway blog post to answer the question.
This competition is open to Australian residents only aged 18 years and over.
A valid email address must be included in your entry.
One entry per person, where more than one entry is made the first entry will be taken and any further entries will be deleted.
Your email will be collected for the sole purpose of this giveaway and will never be given or sold to anyone or used for any other purpose.
The winner will be emailed and has 3 days to respond, otherwise the prize winner will be reassessed.
The original blog post will also be updated with the name of the winner.
By entering you are giving consent for your name to be published on the giveaway blog post if you are the winner.
The prize is not transferable, changeable or redeemable for cash.
Prize sent out by the third party will not be replaced in the event it is stolen, lost or damaged in transit.
Ever-changing Life of a Mum accepts no responsibility for prizes sent by the promoter.
The decision on the winner is final and no dialogue will be entered into otherwise.
These terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

 * This is not a sponsored post, however I was gifted a hard copy of the book ‘Grow Just One Thing – The first step in a fresh food journey’ (value $24.95) for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


13 thoughts on “Grow Just One Thing: book review, interview + giveaway

  1. Argh! My big comment just got eaten! So annoying.

    Anyway, what I said was… We so need to read this book! My husband has gotten really in to cooking since the girls were born and spends most of his free time researching recipes, herbs & spices and learning new and better ways of cooking things. We’re both really keen to start growing some of our own stuff too, and we’ve just started with chillis (his absolute fave!) but we are stuck for where to go next and how to do it! This book would be absolutely perfect! The girls have been loving being involved with the planting and looking after of the chillis and I would love to get them out there and being involved even more with our food.

  2. We’ve just moved, our 23rd move. A temporary one for 12 months till we finally sell our NSW property and build here in Perth now that hubby’s job is permanent. It will be our forever home (or until retirement) and I’m already dreaming about a productive kitchen garden. I was also thinking that it would be something I could start now, in pots and take with me ready for planting but I completely lack any shape or form of a green thumb and don’t really know where to start.

  3. I like the idea of just one thing, and spring onion is something we use a lot of. I should give it a go really. We’ve grown things in the past, but I’ve just got a bit slack lately.

  4. This sounds like a great book. We actually already have our own vegetable garden. Actually our whole back yard is full of edible fruit and veg. We have lemons, limes, grapefruit and mandarins (although we haven’t seen any grapefruit or mandarins yet). We also have a great array of herbs, raspberries, strawberries, carrots and pak choy. Up until recently we also had watermelon and potatoes. The kids absolutely love getting out in the garden and eating our crops 🙂

  5. What a great concept and idea. We have started growing herbs at home (yes starting small!) but I have to say the kids love watering them and it is such a reward to use them in our meals. This book sounds like just up my alley and a great read. Love your post!

  6. We have been planning a veggie garden after moving into a house with a huge backyard. Our neighbours have been kind enough to give us their home grown cherry tomatoes and they taste so good, juicy and sweet, that I’d love to start growing my own too!

  7. I LOVE zucchini so I think I would grow that first. We’ve always wanted to have a veggie garden of our own because it just seems right that you know where your food comes from and to be responsible and self sustaining in as many ways as you can be.

  8. Oh, I love this! My husband has just taken a few weeks off to get our back garden sorted, and I’d love to have a veggie patch! But just a few things. I don’t want to go all in because I know my interest in it would dwindle. Coriander would be first. I used to have a herb garden (before we renovated) and I’d eat the coriander straight from the bush. YUM YUM.

  9. What a great idea to start with just one thing! I’ve put this off so many times because it’s all just so overwhelming and I never know what to plant and when, plus I’m so impatient with waiting for things to grow. I’d probably start with snow peas, they are so versatile and I love to snack on them! Xx

  10. I had a veggie garden…but it died which is why I really need some sort of guidance. I want to re-establish a veggie garden for a number of reasons. 1. To eat fresh & organic produce 2. because veggies from coles are too expensive 3. to teach my kids about growing food, the responsibilities involved and where veggies come from 4. to teach my kids about sustainability 5. to experience the joy and pleasure of being able to go to my garden and pick fresh produce for the nights meal….and I could keep going on!!!!! I would grow the things we eat the most first which would include lettuce, spinach, carrots, chillies, pumpkins, green beans and zucchinis. But who knows if it’s even the right time of year for these….that’s what I need to learn!

Leave a reply